Free Pre: Baby x Baby in the Gillmor Nursery

I used to love the Gillmor Gang, but I don’t listen to it much anymore, because I have come full circle and once again think that too many of the core participants are intentionally non-inclusive.  I’m not talking about on the podcast; I’m talking about on the internet.  Too many of those guys treat the social networks as a stage where they can engage in dramatic dialog with one another, while the great audience watches in admiration.

And I have said over and over that Mike Arrington needs a lesson in personal brand maintenance.  Petulant jerk is not the image I’d go for.

And I have not and probably won’t watch the rest of the latest Gillmor Gang podcast, so there may be things leading up to this brouhaha that I don’t know about.

And, finally, I don’t have and have no plans to get a Palm Pre.

Having said all that, unless there’s a lot more to the story, Leo Laporte was a massive baby for throwing a gigantic temper tantrum just because Mike asked him if he paid for his Pre.  It’s a fair and legitimate question.  A simple yes or no would have sufficed.

When I have been asked to preview phones and other mobile devices in the past, I have never been required to return them.  Generally, after the review period expires, you can keep the device, but you have to pay for a calling plan, etc. if you want to use it.  It’s probably different for high profile devices like the iPhone and the Pre.  Maybe you do have to return it.  I don’t know anything about some “wink and nod” deal where you get a letter requiring that you return it, with no one actually expecting that you will.  If that happens, it’s even worse, in my opinion, than getting one completely free.  Once someone in that situation says he or she didn’t get the device for free, it takes the issue from the realm of an omission to the realm of a lie.

Again, I know nothing about this practice, and I certainly know nothing of the terms under which Leo got his Pre.  I’ll assume he got a review unit and always intended to and will return it.

In other words, I’m not examining Leo’s integrity, because I don’t really know him and have no personal basis to doubt it (or vouch for it).  What I am interested in is the epic meltdown he had on this podcast.

There is some evidence in the comments to the TechCrunch post that Mike may have been poking at Leo for some time.  I don’t know if that’s right or not, but it’s certainly possible given the way Mike relates to most people.  But I’m pretty sure that no one forces Leo to do those podcasts.  And I’m pretty sure the fact that Mike can be a jerk is not a secret.

And, ignoring for a moment the source, it was a relevant question.  Not that Mike was necessarily looking out for truth and justice.

There is another question- about what Mike was worried about at the beginning: journalistic standards or that Leo got a free Pre and he didn’t.  Questioning someone’s integrity is serious business, which is probably what set Leo off.  But, again, a better response would have been “no, I didn’t get it free.  What are you implying.”  In all likelihood Mike would have hung himself with some tirade, while Leo sat back and watched.

But then again, what do I know.  I’m not smart enough to converse with these dudes.  I’m just in the audience, watching a couple of babies fight.

Can anyone spare a pacifier?